The restaurant as we know it today is less than 220 years old! Until the 18th century, people who wanted to eat out went to a tavern, where only one dish was offered each day, and only men were allowed. Or they went to a cookshop, where meat was cooked, and brought home a “take-out” dinner.
The first real restaurant offering a menu with a choice of dishes opened in Paris in 1765. A sign outside this eatery bore the word restaurants, which is French for “restoratives,” because of the healthful soups and broths served there. This word eventually became the name of an eating place in almost every country in Europe.
There are more than 200,000 restaurants in the United States, serving over 60 million meals per day!